28 May 08
The Stobart VK M-Sport Ford rally team is hoping a strong performance on the Acropolis Rally of Greece will enable it to close in on the Subaru World Rally Team in the WRC manufacturers’ contest.
After six rounds of the 2008 championship Stobart trails Subaru by eight points, having narrowed the gap by two points in Sardinia.
And after fielding a two car squad in Sardinia, the team will be back to full, three-car, strength on the Acropolis Rally. Norwegian Henning Solberg returns to the fold after a spell with the Munchi’s Ford team and joins Italian Gigi Galli as the team’s two nominated points scorers. Briton Matthew Wilson, in an identical Ford Focus RS WRC, rounds off the trio of Stobart crews.
Following his fourth place on his home rally in Sardinia, Galli is four points behind Dani Sordo in the Drivers’ Championship and is looking for another strong finish on the Acropolis. This will be Galli’s third attempt at the Greek event but the last time he drove it competitively was 2005 when he came seventh.
“I am looking forward to the Greece Rally as we found a good level of consistency in Sardinia and hopefully it will be possible to keep this going,” said Galli. “Although I haven’t competed in this event for a few years, we did the recce for the last two years and so have a good understanding of the stages and the rocky conditions. It’s definitely going to be a hard test for the car, crew and the tyres, but I’m confident we are all up to the challenge.”
Solberg was fifth in Greece in 2006 and 2007 and has set himself a top-five target again this year. “I like the rough conditions and generally enjoy the event,” said Solberg. “We didn’t have a good event in Sardinia and we plan to improve on that pace. Because we don’t get testing it takes a while for me to settle into a good rhythm at the start of a rally but with events close together it means we can be faster right from the start. So my confidence is better for this rally.”
Wilson finished inside the top-10 in Greece in 2006 and 2007. And after a disappointing outing on the last WRC round he is hoping for a better event this weekend. “Sardinia wasn’t the greatest event for me so in Greece we will look to improve and get back to the pace we had on previous gravel rallies this year,” he said. “The route it is not much different to last year which is going to be good for us. Greece is a hot rally where our training will be a big benefit especially on some of the longer stages. Hopefully the weather will stay warm and dry so we can get a good consistent feeling with the tyres. Sardinia was hard to get a good feeling with the changing conditions.”